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Vertical Fiscal Imbalance and Local Fiscal Indiscipline: Empirical Evidence from China

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  • Junxue Jia

    (Renmin University of China)

  • Yongzheng Liu

    (Renmin University of China)

  • Jorge Martinez-Vazquez

    (International Center for Public Policy, Georgia State University, USA)

  • Kewei Zhang

    (Boston University, USA)

Abstract

Based on a Chinese city-level panel dataset, this paper examines the effects of vertical fiscal imbalances (VFI) on local fiscal indiscipline in a partial fiscal decentralization setting. We find that higher VFI induces a form of fiscal indiscipline: a reduction of tax collection effort by local governments. In addition, by exploiting the unique Chinese fiscal institution of “extra-budgetary” revenues, we show that in this case higher VFI does not alter local governments’ tax collection efforts. Even though local governments also possess full taxing power for “extra-budgetary” revenues, these revenues do not contribute to the determination of central fiscal transfers to local governments, thus creating very different incentives for local governments’ response to VFI. Our results shed light on the working mechanism of VFI and provide significant implications for improving the design of fiscal decentralization policy in China and elsewhere.

Suggested Citation

  • Junxue Jia & Yongzheng Liu & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Kewei Zhang, 2020. "Vertical Fiscal Imbalance and Local Fiscal Indiscipline: Empirical Evidence from China," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper2006, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper2006
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    Cited by:

    1. Santiago Lago-Peñas & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Agnese Sacchi, 2020. "Fiscal stability during the Great Recession: putting decentralization design to the test," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(7), pages 919-930, July.
    2. Liangliang Liu & Wenqing Zhang, 2022. "Vertical fiscal imbalance and government spending on science and technology in China," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 1953-1971, August.
    3. Lin, Boqiang & Zhou, Yicheng, 2021. "Does fiscal decentralization improve energy and environmental performance? New perspective on vertical fiscal imbalance," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 302(C).
    4. Аnna A. Mikhaylova & Evgeny N. Timushev, 2021. "Concept of Vertical Fiscal Imbalance in the Analysis of Fiscal Sustainability at the Regional Level," Finansovyj žhurnal — Financial Journal, Financial Research Institute, Moscow 127006, Russia, issue 6, pages 98-116, December.
    5. Liangliang Liu & Wenqing Zhang, 2022. "Vertical fiscal imbalance and energy intensity in China," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 83(2), pages 509-526, October.
    6. Tianchu Feng & Meijuan Liu & Chaozhu Li, 2022. "How Does Vertical Fiscal Imbalance Affect CO 2 Emissions? The Role of Capital Mismatch," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(17), pages 1-15, August.
    7. Klimanov, V. & Mikhaylova, A., 2021. "Fiscal decentralization in pandemic and post-pandemic times," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 218-226.
    8. Kate Hynes & Yongzheng Liu & Jie Ma & Ian Wooton, 2022. "Tax competition for FDI: China’s exceptional approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 29(3), pages 788-809, June.
    9. Lin, Boqiang & Zhou, Yicheng, 2021. "How does vertical fiscal imbalance affect the upgrading of industrial structure? Empirical evidence from China," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 170(C).
    10. Yunchan Zhu & Shuo Han & Yimeng Zhang & Qi Huang, 2021. "Evaluating the Effect of Government Emission Reduction Policy: Evidence from Demonstration Cities in China," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(9), pages 1-16, April.

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    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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